The reasons people embark on freelance careers can be quite varied, personal or economic. Very often when people begin looking en masse towards self employment, jobs in the more conventional sector have become tighter. On the other hand, some find the very idea of working for someone else to be absolutely abhorrent, and they've had more than enough of working for others.
Whatever one's motivation might be, the first and foremost concern is finding self employment jobs and gigs to keep the bills paid. This is much less of a concern if you begin your freelancing career while you're still nominally employed, but many people have found themselves thrust into self employment and jobs become an overriding concern immediately.
Either way, you have some options as to just how much of a lone wolf you want to be. Bear in mind that the more active you are with finding your own work, the more time you'll need to spend on relatively unpleasant tasks such as bill collecting and making out invoices on the other side.
That said, the most important aspect of finding success with self employment and jobs that follow one after another in succession is to aggressively market yourself in the sector you want to be in. It's usually a good idea to choose something that you are passionate and actually pretty good at, though sometimes passion comes before competence in some more unusual fields where there is no local competition.
Regardless, opportunities abound once you start getting your name out there. It can seem very daunting, and the more green you look, the more likely you are to get an initial slew of clients that are looking for someone to take advantage of. Remember, just because there are students at home or abroad who will do the work for peanuts doesn't mean you have to just to keep up. By presenting yourself as a seasoned professional, even if you don't entirely feel like one, will give your clients the very reasonable opinion that you deliver a premium service or product.
Of course, marketing can take a great deal of time and effort when you're just staring up with self employment. Jobs that have you taking regular work from a single client are often a good way to start, especially if you find that honing your skills is taking all your time. While such opportunities are somewhat less lucrative than doing all the legwork yourself, they can be a great way to break into freelancing and gain some confidence and experience.